An 11-1 spurt midway through the first half sparked the Pacific University men's basketball team to a 69-60 win over host UC-Santa Cruz on Friday afternoon in Santa Cruz, California.
The Boxers (2-1) were led by junior Nate Olowo (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), who scored a game-high 21 points to lead three Pacific players in double figures. Olowo scored 11 of his 21 in the first half as Pacific went into the halftime break with a 33-28 lead.
Earlier in the half, the Boxers withstood a 10-0 run by the host Banana Slugs, who took a five-point lead when Tre Weston made a layup with 10:18 left in the first 20 minutes. A 7-2 spurt by Pacific tied the game at 14 with 8:20 and after four more ties in the opening half, five-straight points by Olowo put the Boxers ahead for the rest of the half as well as the contest.
UC Santa Cruz (2-3) were led by a pair of 12-point efforts by Weston and reserve Dylan Holler in the defeat.
"Offensively, we played at the best level, we have to this point of the season," noted Pacific University head coach Tim Cleary. "We did a great job of sharing the basketball and playing unselfishly." The Boxers had 13 assists on its 24 field goals with three-different players with three assists in the win. "K.C. Harrison (Las Vegas, Nev.) played the like the K.C. we all know and Nate Olowo was a beast inside." Harrison scored a season-high 20 points with three 3-pointers and a 7-for-12 effort from the free-throw line to join Olowo and teammate Michael Joseph (Anchorage, Alaska), who added 11 points in the win.
The visitors held the lead for the entire second half with Harrison and Olowo keeping Pacific in front with 14 and 10 points, respectively. UC Santa Cruz managed to cut the deficit to two, 36-34, before Harrison made two of three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt to spark a 7-2 spurt. The Boxers stretched the lead to as much as 13 in the closing minutes.
The Boxers will wrap up its participation in the Scotts Valley Hilton Classic on Saturday, Nov. 26 at 2 p.m. when they face Redlands in a neutral-site contest in Santa Cruz.